Discumentary

Date

Discumentary: Al Green "Let's Stay Together"

After flirting with breakthrough success Al Green shot to super-stardom with his 1972 album “Let’s Stay Together.” By blending Memphis horns with traditional soul grooves Green created a sound that came to epitomize ’70’s soul. The title track became Green’s first #1 hit.

Discumentary: Tom Waits "The Heart of Saturday Night"

Tom Waits was in the process of creating his distinctive stage persona at the time of his second studio release. "The Heart of Saturday Night" finds Waits trading in his earlier folk-rock arrangements for a 1950’s West Coast style of jazz and Waits' newly evolving gruff vocal presentation.

Discumentary: The Pretenders "Learning To Crawl"

Recovering from the deaths of two of their band members, Chrissie Hynde reinvented the Pretenders with "Learning to Crawl." Her lyrics are more emotional here, but never depressing, as the Pretenders rock out in top form.

Discumentary: Emmylou Harris "Wrecking Ball"

In the early 90's Emmylou Harris experienced diminishing success as a country music artist. With "Wrecking Ball" she re-invented herself musically, with help from U2 producer Daniel Lanois. Moody and atmospheric, the album also features guest performances from Steve Earle, Larry Mullen Jr., The McGarrigle Sisters and Neil Young.

Discumentary: Creedence Clearwater Revival "Cosmo's Factory"

This was CCR's fifth album, released around the two-year anniversary of their vinyl debut. Cosmo's Factory was the group's peak of popularity featuring "Who'll Stop the Rain" and an eleven-minute version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine".

Discumentary: The Cure "The Head On The Door"

The Cure's sixth album merged their signature dark-goth and their pop sound which they achieved with later albums. The Head On The Door shows the band experimenting with different sylings and arrangements. This album gave them their first big success in America, reaching #59 on the Billboard album charts.

Discumentary: Dar Williams "End of the Summer"

For Dar Williams' long time fans, hearing this album must have been rather shocking, like when Dylan went electric. Williams set aside her acoustic singer-songwriter side and released this more "plugged in" album that features drum machines and electric guitars backing up her soprano voice and colorful songwriting skills.

Discumentary: Beth Orton "Central Reservation"

Orton's sophomore release took a step back from her earlier "folktronica" leanings and brought an album that was more organic in sound. This allowed for a focus on her excellent songwriting and performance, enhanced by guest artists like Dr. John, Terry Callier and Ben Harper.

Discumentary: Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

His record label considered this album much stranger than his previous albums so they dropped Tom Waits and he took his work elsewhere. Island Records signed him and released the album in 1983 to a warm reception from fans and critics. Known for the varieties of percussion and horn experimentation, "Swordfishtrombones" was the genesis of Waits' signature sound.

Discumentary: George Harrison "Brainwashed"

George Harrison was working on this album up until he died in 2001. It was completed by his son Dhani and Jeff Lynne from a set of thorough notes that George Harrison left behind. Released a year after his death, it is hailed as some of Harrison's best work.

Discumentary: Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers "Conscious Party"

This is the breakout album for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, it includes the single "Tomorrow People." Produced by Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club members Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz, this album is one of the top-selling reggae albums ever.

Discumentary: Joe Jackson "Night and Day"

Joe Jackson's 5th release, Night & Day, was released in 1982 and marked a departure from his earlier work. The title, taken from a Cole Porter song, reflected a new sophistication in songwriting and garnered Jackson two of his biggest hit songs, "Breaking Us In Two" and "Steppin Out."

Discumentary: Tracy Chapman "Tracy Chapman"

In spirit of the singer-songwriter tradition that was beginning to resurface, Chapman's debut album sits comfortably alongside such names as Natalie Merchant and Suzanne Vega. The album is largely political in nature, dealing with issues such as racism, violence against women, and poverty.

Discumentary: Ben Folds Five "Ben Folds Five"

Even though they were a trio, the Ben Folds Five formed in North Carolina and released this as their debut. It bridged the gap between piano rock and alternative rock, and paving the way for their breakout success.

Discumentary: The B-52's "The B-52's"

The B-52's were unlike anything out there when they released their debut album, the band's unique approach made them a hit, and had songs like "Rock Lobster" and "Planet Claire" spinning at parties all over the world.

Discumentary: David Bowie "Ziggy Stardust"

Part glam rock, part progressive rock, Bowie's classic redefined himself in the UK and made him a hit for the first time in the US.

Discumentary: Simon and Garfunkel "Bookends"

Following the success of the Graduate, Simon and Garfunkel put together a well crafted folk album featuring Simon's poignant lyrics and Garfunkel's elusive vocals. The album featured a completed and re-arranged version of Mrs. Robinson, the hit song America, and a recording of old people simply called Voices of Old People.

Discumentary: Patti Smith "Horses"

Patti Smith's groundbreaking debut album, often called the first art punk album. Smith's fusion of poetry and music defines a unique style that she continues to develop to this day.

Discumentary: Taj Mahal "The Natch'l Blues"

Taj Mahal released his second album in the fall of 1968. Building on his multi-cultural approach to the blues these songs feature elements of Delta blues but also include an expanding range of influences including rock and country.

Discumentary: Steely Dan "Pretzel Logic"

In 1974 Steely Dan was structured as a standard band consisting of Walter Becker, Donald Fagen, Denny Dias, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, and Victor Feldman. Under the guidance of producer Gary Katz the band's songs became more complex and featured a tribute to Charlie Parker and a cover of a Duke Ellington instrumental. "Pretzel Logic" was a critical and commercial success and won the band its first top 10 single with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."

Discumentary: R.E.M. "Life's Rich Pageant"

University of Georgia dropouts Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Michael Stipe recorded "Lifes Rich Pageant" in 1986, their fourth album on IRS Records. The album produced the single, "Cuyahoga" and solidified them in the college rock world.

Discumentary: Sarah McLachlan "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy"

With only a small cult following in the U.S., Sarah McLachlan released this album and watched her star rise. The album features one of her best-known songs, "Posession" about obsession from a stalker's perspective.

Discumentary: Iris DeMent Infamous Angel

Iris DeMent's debut album became a success mostly due to the rave reviews it received, many critics called it an instant classic. The reviews led to DeMent signing a contract with Warner Brothers who re-released the disc in 1993. The album features guest appearances by Emmylou Harris and Iris' mother, Flora Mae.

Discumentary: Bruce Springsteen "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

Although it was not his most popular album, Springsteen released this one just as he was winding down from the success of "Born to Run". With more than 30 unused songs written, he picked these 10, each tell stories of life in working class America.

Discumentary: Victoria Williams "Loose"

Before this album, Victoria Williams was pretty much a musician's musician. Her unique and unusual singing voice as well as her songwriting grabbed her a devout following. A tribute album that came out just before Loose raised money to pay for it.

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